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Argentinian & Chilean Patagonia

sunny 25 °C

After leaving BA, we made our way down the east coast to Puerto Madryn, where the highlight was seeing sea lions in Peninsula Valdes and getting close to penguins in Punta Tombo.

We made a day trip to each of the places. On the trip to Peninsula Valdes, we saw sea lions and a few penguins from afar. The trip to Punta Tombo was much better where there were at least 500,000 penguins, and you could walk around them. Argentina_..bc2_174.jpgArgentina_.._sc_073.jpg
We also took a boat trip and saw a few dolphins - they were quite playful and liked swimming near the boat, or showing off by diving in and out of the water. On our way back we stopped off at a Welsh tea house to have high tea. Puerto Madryn is also where the first Welsh travellers settled, the tea house culture seems to have stayed.

After spending a few days at Puerto Madryn, we made our way down to El Calafate, which would be the southern most point of our travels. El calafate is a purely tourist town which exists so people can go see the Perito Moreno glacier. This glacier is one of the few which is not shrinking and can be seen quite close up. We were supposed to take a tour which included walking on the glacier, but chose a wrong tour and instead had to make do with watching the glacier from the view point. We also took the boat option where we sailed pretty close to the glacier and saw a few ice breaks - was quite amazing. Argentina_..bc3_004.jpg

Then we made our way to Bariloche, which is in the lake district - took us 3 busses and 34 hours to get there from Calafate - our longest trip yet. We must have spent over 500 to 600 hours on the busses so far. Bariloche is a pretty town situated on the steep and wooded shore of Late Nahuel Huapi.We spent a few days there walking round the country side, I did some rafting on one day while Aarti visited the lakes on a day tour and generally chilled out. Argentina_.._bc_009.jpgArgentina_.._bc_064.jpg

From there, it was onto Pucon in Chile for some volcano climbing for me. This was going to be a pretty difficult climb - the day before the climb we were given out equipment - crampons, gators, icepick, helmet, waterproofs etc... And due to a really harsh summer, we were going to start the climb at 4.00 in the morning with the target of reaching the top by 10.00am at the latest, as otherwise the top got abit dangerous with falling rocks. About a week previously, there had been a narrow escape and they weren{t taking any chances. Obviously it didnt help that I hadnt done any trekking at all since November, and had been enjoying the fine steaks and wines for the last few weeks. The first hour was extremely tough for me as my body tried to adjust to the increased physical activity which it had not been used to for some time - but I slowly settle down and it got less painful, but more difficult as the gradient of the volcano increased. We would take breaks every 40-50 minutes and it was after the last break before the top where I got a bad side strain and couldnĀ“t continue any more. I think it had to do with the way I sat down during the break, and it was extremely disappointing not to continue to the top. Pucon_Chil.._sc_029.jpgPucon_Chil.._sc_015.jpg

We took a nightbus that day to Santiago where we walked aroung the city for a couple of days, the highlight being going to a really nice Indian restaurant to satisfy out indian food cravings.

From there it was on to Mendoza in Argentina - the wine country.

Posted by AartiHemal 06:34 Archived in Argentina

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Hey !! Great blog and lovely lovely pics, Really panoramic. Must have been great seeing all the glacier , ice break etc....

Enjoy the rest of the days in S. america. 50 days to go.......

by Utam

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